Friday, July 9, 2010

Sourdough Starter

I finally made my sourdough starter.  I told you that I would find an alternative bread, and I did.  No mold after sitting on the counter for a week.  It just got dry, like it was supposed to because I didn’t add an “artificial” leaven. 

The inspiration came from Sue Gregg’s Whole Grain Baking, which you can download about 46 pages of it here. The Nourishing Traditions cookbook also has a sourdough starter recipe. 

What I didn’t know was that yeast is happily flying through the air and into my nose and yours presently.  The sourdough part forms when the mixture of flour and water ferment with the wild yeast when it settles onto the surface of your starter. 

“Baking with sourdough produces nutritionally superior breads because the lactic-acid ferment is beneficial for eliminating toxic wastes from cells.  And because sourdough breads are partially “pre-digested” by the lactic-acid fermentation process before baking, they are more easily digested by the body.” (pp. 156)

My grain of choice was freshly ground rye, due to it responding to “wild yeasts in the air more readily than other grains (pp. 156).”

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I worked hard at collecting yeast naturally from the air.  For 7 days.  Even the Hottie got into helping me . . . because I somehow always managed to take care of my starter right before bedtime. 

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I tried to capture the day by day growth of yeast.

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I knew nature was at work because there were bubbles.

By the end of 7 days, some really cool science stuff began to show up.  I never thought I would be so happy to see fungus-like stuff growing. 

(NOTE: The whitish paper-thin particles floating on the brown liquid is normal.  The only time you worry about the health of your sourdough starter is when it begins to turn pink.)

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I attempted to create bread with this 7 day old liquid concoction.

It rose a long time.

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Then, I flattened it all back out.  This made me sad. 

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I attempted to roll it up like Sue Gregg suggested and failed miserably.

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So I decided to do another experiment.

Instead of “correctly” folding my dough, I just shaped the 2nd loaf to fit inside the prepared coconut oil pan.

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I thought that maybe one would rise better than the other.


They were both dense.

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I don’t think that I have perfected my bread making skills.  My first sourdough bread was a bit dry and tough.  I need to feed my starter today (take out 1/2  cup of old starter and add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour).

And I will try all over again. 

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